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Year 7 to high school information for parents

Year 7 is moving to high school 

Year 7 public school students will be taught in high school from term 1, 2022.  

This means that from 2022, year 6 will be the last year of primary school and year 7 will be the first year of high school.

Year 7 is already part of high school across the country so this move will bring South Australia in line with other states and territories, as well as other education systems in our state.

The Australian Curriculum, which all South Australian students learn, is designed to be taught in a high school setting. High schools offer specialist teachers and facilities, such as science laboratories and performing arts spaces.

South Australia will be ready for the move in 2022. All of our public schools play a role in making the move of year 7 to high school as smooth and successful as possible for our students and their families. 

Visit this page regularly for updates about the move. Your school will also share information about what this move means for your child, so keep an eye out for year 7 to high school updates. 

Some of our South Australian public high schools, such as Clare High School and Seaford Secondary College, are already teaching year 7s. See Clare High School's video below. 

Video transcript

Sharryn Daly: It's been almost 20 years since year 7 has joined our secondary site. I have worked in a number of secondary sites. That's sort of my background and my passion. I really value having new year 7s on the site. I believe the students are very ready. Maturity-wise, you'll find that year 7s these days are far more mature than, perhaps, they were a few years ago. What we find is that after a couple of weeks of being at high school in January and February, they kind of make themselves at home.

Student: On my first day, I realised that there's nothing to actually worry about, and your teachers are here to help you, and they really help you through the process.

Student: I thought it was going to be quite scary, kind of. But it's good. I enjoy it.

Sharryn Daly: They get an opportunity to experience science, tech studies. They get to try home ec. They do media. They do drama. They have a whole range of specialist, elective-type subjects with specialist teachers and specialist facilities.

Student: Changing into different teachers. Not always having the same teachers for every lesson.

Interviewer: Yeah. And how was that?

Student: Really interesting.

Sharryn Daly: My sense was that, often, it was the parent that is concerned about the safety of their child. They are just worried. But what you find if you talk to the students is that a lot of those fears are not warranted. You do find that after a few weeks, the students are intermingling with all students from other year levels.

Student: It feels good.

Student: It feels pretty normal. It doesn't feel really different.

Student: Yeah.

Student: Especially older, more older kids. There's a lot of year 12s, and 10s, and 11s that we didn't have in primary school.

Interviewer: But is that good? Is that-

Student: Yeah.

Student: Yeah.

Student: It's good.

Student: Do your homework.

Student: Don't forget, don't do your homework at the last minute.

Student: Yeah.

[End of transcript]

Many South Australian non-government schools also currently teach year 7s in a high school setting.  

Visit this page regularly for updates about the move of year 7 to high school that will help you make informed decisions about your child’s education.

Your school will also share information about what this move means for your child, so keep an eye out for year 7 to high school updates. 

Enrolment in high school for 2022 

From 2022, year 7 will be the first year of high school.

This means both year 6 and year 7 students will apply through the department’s statewide transition process to start high school in 2022.

Schools will begin providing information to families in coming weeks.

All year 6 and 7 families who attend a public primary school will automatically receive application information from their school.

Non government families who want to attend a public high school in 2022, can request application information from their local public high school, local education office or by emailing education.startingsecondaryschool@sa.gov.au

See find a school or preschool for more information about your child’s local zoned secondary school.

See your child's enrolment to learn more about starting high school in 2022.

How the move of year 7 to high school will work

Planning is well underway to make sure the move of year 7 to high school is well-managed and considered. Together with the information shared by the department, your school will provide information as plans for the move progress. 

Planning and investment 

South Australia will be ready to move year 7 to high school in 2022. We are investing $185m in schools to manage increasing enrolments and to make sure there is enough space at high schools. This includes general and specialist learning areas for students. 

High schools, area schools and R-12 schools are receiving a share of $2.85m in establishment grants to help them prepare school learning environments and facilities for incoming year 7 students. 

School implementation tools

We have provided individual implementation tools for primary and high schools to support the planning and implementation of year 7 to high school in 2022. Our aim is to help ensure a smooth and successful move for year 7 students.  

The plans cover elements such as workforce planning, professional learning, facilities and resource management, parent engagement and student orientation and learning.

Drawing on evidence-based learning

A pilot program with 3 high schools has offered early insights in a range of areas such as:

  • student wellbeing
  • workforce planning
  • continuity of learning
  • communication with families
  • transition processes between primary and high schools.

The year 7 to high school pilot program review is now available, ahead of the statewide move in 2022. 

We are also using learnings from Queensland and Western Australia, who recently moved year 7 to high school, to make sure the move in South Australia in 2022 is as smooth as possible.

Benefits for your child

Australian Curriculum

All South Australian students learn the Australian Curriculum at school. For year 7s, the curriculum focuses on specialist courses and is designed to be taught in a high school setting. 

Moving year 7 to high school will mean students benefit from specialist teachers and resources, such as learning in fully equipped science labs and design and technology facilities. 

It also provides a grouped curriculum for year 7 and 8 in a number of subjects. Bringing year 7 to a high school setting will make it easier to deliver these subjects.

Learning outcomes 

Neuroscience has taught us how the brains of early adolescents are changing. So, we’ll be giving teachers access to evidence-based approaches to further engage students. 

This move is a big change and we will make sure our early adolescents get the best learning opportunities from their new high school environment. 

Wellbeing benefits 

The new high school environment will expose year 7s to different teaching styles. It will provide opportunities for more peer interactions, independence and responsibility.

We can see in many of our R – 12 schools, and from the interest in our pilot schools, that year 7s are ready and keen for high school. 

Watch Wirreanda Secondary School’s video below to hear year 6s talk about being among the first year 7s in high school in South Australia.

Video transcript

Jackson: I'm Jackson, and I'm going to be one of the first year sevens to come into a high school in South Australia. Yeah, I'm getting a lot more comfortable. It's coming down pretty quick.

Caroline Fishpool: We do have a strong belief that apart from all the different questions and uncertainty at the moment across the state, we do believe at Wirreanda Secondary School that they should be in our secondary school setting. We're obviously making preparations to ensure that can happen. There's a mixture of obviously excitement about coming into a secondary school setting. There's a mixture of uncertainty, but I think that's obviously the case with any change process. It's about what we put into place.

Blake: I'm pretty excited.

Interviewer: Yeah? Tell me why you're excited.

Blake: Because I'm moving onto a high school. Knowing that I'm going to be a year seven, I would love to have a year seven jumper.

Caroline Fishpool: Our transition processes are really clear here about making sure that we know the students, and obviously I think embrace that excitement about, what are the students excited about? Not what they're nervous about, but what are they excited about? And how we build on that with a strength-based approach.

Jackson: I was pretty down because I didn't get to get a year seven jumper. Then today when I heard that we were going to design our own year seven's jumpers, I was pretty excited.

Caroline Fishpool: I think year sevens are very ready to start secondary school. I think it's a big change for South Australia, and it's a big change for a lot of people involved in actually leading that piece out, but are year sevens ready? Absolutely.

Katrina Axford: Sometimes what will happen is the adults will be the more anxious ones than the students. Kids adapt a lot better than adults, you can see that today out in the spaces that they're just getting on with it. There are students in different uniforms right now that have known each other for an hour, but we've set up structures and processes that we put in place because we know that this stuff works, and we know that the kids will just get over those bits that make them anxious.

Caroline Fishpool: We know that obviously as year sevens in primary schools, from what primary schools tell us, they get halfway through the year and then looking for additional opportunities. Secondary schools provide that with the structures that we have in place with those specialist pathways for them to kind of have a bit of a dabble, and then move forward.

Blake: I feel good.

Interviewer: Yeah?

Jackson: Yeah, excited.

[End of transcript].


Support for your child starting year 7 in high school 

There are a number of ways to support your child when they start at a new school. See changing schools for more information. 

Graduation ceremonies 

We understand the importance of marking the special occasion of students finishing primary school. This is a local school decision, however we expect schools will celebrate students finishing primary school at the end of year 6, along with year 7s who are moving on to year 8. 

Out of school hours care (OSHC) options 

High schools don’t generally provide OSHC but do offer alternatives such as after school study in the library. Contact your local high school for more information.

Safety and wellbeing in high school 

Your child’s wellbeing is just as important in high school as it is in primary school.

Frameworks already exist in public schools to manage interactions between students of different ages. These already operate in our B-12, R-12, area and primary schools to manage younger children interacting with older students. 

In 2022, year 7 and 8 students will start high school in the same year for the first time. We are very mindful of having a smooth transition for all new high school students. 

Schools will provide dedicated wellbeing support to help year 7 and 8 students adjust to new routines and different academic demands. The support will vary across schools, so it's best to check with your new high school about how this will work. 

Support for students with a disability

Moving from primary to high school is important for all students, and especially so for students with disability. 

Our key focus remains on setting students with disability up for success.

We have established extra specialised education options (formerly known as ‘special options’) for the move of year 7 to high school in 2022. These are in addition to the schools that already have these spaces. You can read more about the high schools receiving the new facilities. 

These schools were chosen based on where we expect families will need disability support the most.

Two new birth to year 12 schools are also being built in the north and south of Adelaide, which will open in 2022. Each will have capacity for 100 inclusive learning spaces for students with disability.  

The specialised education options process will remain the same. Students will continue to be reviewed in their final primary school year to assess their specialised education option placement for high school.  

If your child is moving to high school as a year 7 in 2022, the review process will take place when your child is in year 6 this year. This means that in 2021, both year 6 and year 7 students will be reviewed and offered places for high school in 2022.

Your primary school is your key source of information about the move to high school in 2022. They will keep you informed with assessment, panel and transition information including transport eligibility criteria where applicable speak to your school in the first instance.

Preparing our schools for year 7s

High schools, area schools and R-12 schools are receiving a share of $2.85m in establishment grants to help prepare learning areas for year 7 students starting high school in 2022. 

The funding will go towards things like painting walls, installing lockers, preparing outdoor spaces or purchasing furniture and textbooks so schools can get ready to welcome year 7s to high school.  

The amount of funding schools receive is based on the number of year 7 students and classes the school is expected to have in 2022.

We are excited to welcome our year 7s and 8s when they start high school together for the first time in 2022. 

Read the latest news for more information. Parents and carers should contact their school first for details on what is happening at their individual school.  

School sport and competitions

School sport and competitions in 2021

The year 7 to high school move is a catalyst for School Sport SA to explore how to increase student engagement and participation in school sport, with a focus on ensuring that it is localised and accessible to students.

A working group has been established to look at the opportunities that the move of year 7 to high school in 2022 may bring to school sport.

School Sport SA representatives are consulting with schools and talking directly with students about the best way forward and how student participation in sport and physical activity can be increased in the future.

Primary school state carnivals

In 2021, the current statewide district SAPSASA carnivals will continue to be offered and expanded, where students are selected to represent their district.

These carnivals are popular with students and their parents and offer pathways to interstate school competitions at the interstate level.

Year level sports

Year level based sports will continue to operate and will be expanded to include separate year 6 and 7 events in 2021. Primary schools and district coaches are actively encouraged to include year 6 and 7 students in these increased opportunities, so both year levels have the chance to participate.

School sport and competitions in 2022

The School Sport SA working group will use feedback from the student consultation and consider introducing different activities to provide students in primary and secondary settings with more opportunities to engage in sport and encourage broader participation and greater inclusion.

Further details will be made available by School Sport SA in the future.


Year 7 to High School Project Team

Email: Year7toHS [at] sa.gov.au